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When Do You Start Showing? (Plus Surprising Reasons You’ll Show Sooner)
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Some expectant moms are chomping at the bit to start growing a bump. They’re so excited about their news that they want to show it on the outside! Others would rather keep it quiet until the second trimester when the chance of loss is lower. In either case, pregnant women want to know, “when do you start showing in pregnancy?”

In this post we’ll cover:

When do you start showing in pregnancy?
Why women show at different times
What surprising factors affect when you start showing

When Do You Start Showing?

Many moms-to-be want to know, “when do you start showing?” But there is no definitive answer.

Many mamas notice changes in their own bodies before anyone else does. Some feel their clothing getting too small (or just uncomfortable) by the time they hit 8 weeks. Others can wear their regular clothes until closer to 6 months!

In general, other people may not notice your growing belly until at least 12 weeks. This is because the uterus doesn’t pop out of the pelvis until about this time. Doctors and midwives start measuring the fundal height at around 12 weeks as well, since it can finally be felt above the pelvic bone.

How early a pregnant woman shows is sometimes just a matter of chance, but there are some things that can affect when she starts to show:

Things That Affect When Pregnant Women Start Showing
First-time moms

Because first-time moms don’t have the same muscle memory as experienced moms, they often show later. The uterus is a muscle like any other, and if you haven’t used it before (to grow a baby), it will be slower to expand.

During subsequent pregnancies, the uterus expands more quickly, kind of like a balloon being blown up for the second time—since it’s already been stretched, it does so more easily the second time around.

Anecdotally, many moms agree that they started showing much sooner the second time around.

We’re down to ONE month until we get to welcome our sweet baby girl into this crazy world 💕 We’re equally excited and nervous to enter this new chapter in our lives!! I just hope that she will be as big of a foodie as her mama is! 😋✌🏻 More details about my first pregnancy and baby over at @dirndl_mama 👶🏻✨ Photo by @sarahsweeneyco 📸

A post shared by German Food & Recipe Blog (@dirndl_kitchen) on Aug 1, 2018 at 11:00am PDT

This mama is 8 months pregnant. She’s carrying one baby, and it’s her first pregnancy. 

How lucky am I? Just look at them. Such cuties, although they do drive me mad sometimes…😆 I’ve had a productive day, yay for that! 2 videos filmed, and the food shop is done. I’m feeling a little lost now Love Island is over but we’ve just started watching Power again on Netflix. It’s SO good!! What will you be watching now LI is over? . . Wearing: @drift.n.dream matching tshirts, mine says mama and the boys say mamas boy. Adorable x

A post shared by Liza Prideaux Lizaprideaux.com (@lizaprideaux) on Aug 1, 2018 at 9:47am PDT

This mama is only 12 weeks pregnant, but this is her third pregnancy. 

Carrying multiples!

When do you start showing with twins? The answer is generally earlier than a mama carrying one baby!

Though it’s not possible to know an exact date or time during pregnancy when you’ll start showing, twin pregnancies often cause a larger than average uterus size for gestational age. Because two babies usually take up more space than one, a twin pregnancy could be a reason that the belly “pops” sooner than expected.

However, fundal height is a more accurate gauge of a potential twin pregnancy than the way your belly looks. Ultimately, showing early isn’t a sign of a twin pregnancy, but if you already know you have twins on the way, you may also notice your belly shows earlier.

STORY TIME: |MOM AT AGE 3| When I was little I would take my big sisters dolls and cut off all their hair. That's how I would take care of them. I would paint my little sister's eyelids with nail polish to make her beautiful. From age 3 I knew I would be the best mom in the world due to my plethora of experience. I grew up and got married and at age 21 I was still convinced that I would be the best mom. There were so many babies being born into both mine and Sam's families and we were definitely baby hungry. After 2 months of marriage I googled how to take a pregnancy test. The first was negative and the next 2 were positive. I showed my husband and there was a half celebration. We didn't know if we should trust those tests. I mean we'd never been pregnant before. That's when I had a total meltdown and knew I was not ready to be a mom. All the fish I had ever owned died! What were we thinking, we JUST got married! I'm not even good at feeding myself! Then all the hard things I'd ever done in my life came like flashes in my mind. Was I ready to move out? Was I ready to go on a mission? Was I ready to get married? Was I ready to go to college? I'd never been ready for the big things in my life, but I did them and I NEVER regretted it. We went to the clinic and it was confirmed that I was indeed pregnant. My husband covered his tears up with a laugh and I felt like a rookie at life. It's ok to feel like a rookie, gosh it's ok to BE a rookie. It's ok to feel scared, but it's also ok to kick those fears in the face and face your circumstances and choices with confidence and faith. I wasn't ready to be a mom at 3 and now at 22 I'm still not ready, but I'm going to be a MOM. I can't wait! . . . #youngmom #twinmom #momstory #newmom #twinboys #twinpregnancy #32weekspregnant #2babies #boymom #mom #momfears #pregnancy #pregnancytest

A post shared by METTE BLACKBURN (@metteblackburn) on Jul 31, 2018 at 11:04pm PDT

This mama is 8 months pregnant with twins!

Shape/position of the uterus

The uterus is ideally in an anteverted position—in a right angle from the vagina, pointing toward the belly button. However, the uterus isn’t in a fixed position and can move from day to day (and even hour to hour!). Some uteruses do stay put in a different position, but it may be tipped upward slightly or it may go so far as to be folded over and pointing toward the tailbone or lower back (retroverted).

There’s nothing inherently wrong with these other uterine positions and it’s generally nothing to worry about. (Though some women attribute infertility or pain during sex to uterine position.) But it can affect when you start to show:

An anteverted (forward pointing uterus) is more likely to pop out of the abdomen sooner.
A retroverted uterus (one that points backward) is more likely to grow up into the abdomen before popping out. Because of this, it could take longer for a woman with this uterine position to start showing.

Body type

Carrying high or low is often thought of as a gender predictor, but it’s more a sign of your body type.

Women with small frames may show earlier than larger women. And women who are carrying a little extra weight before pregnancy may not show as soon as women who have very little body fat.

When do you start showing if you have a longer torso? Tall women with long torsos generally have more room for the uterus to grow “up” before growing “out.” Similarly, if you have a short torso the uterus may begin growing “out” sooner due to lack of space.

Core strength

Women with very defined abdominal muscles may show later. This is because their abdominal muscles are very strong, and it takes longer for baby to “break through.” Women with weaker abdominal muscles may show earlier because the abs aren’t as tight, allowing the body to stretch more easily.

Good morning baby boy! 👶🏻 I can't stop staring at his ultrasound pic, doesn't it kinda look like he's smiling? 😊 #october #baby #8months

A post shared by FITNESS GUIDE👉🏼SarahStage.com (@sarahstage) on Sep 6, 2017 at 10:37am PDT

This mama is a personal trainer. As mentioned above, tight ab muscles can mean you start to show later in pregnancy. Believe it or not, she says she’s in her 8th month of pregnancy. 😬

Age

Younger women may show later because of more muscle definition, though this is obviously not hard-and-fast. There are many lifestyle factors that affect this, and many women who are on the older side (as far as fertility goes) have strong ab muscles. There are plenty of younger mothers who have weaker ab muscles as well.

31 weeks…feels like 42 😳 #geriatricpregnancy #todaywasbrutal #isitjulyyet 💙💙💙

A post shared by Tammy Raines (@scenttraines) on May 6, 2016 at 6:02pm PDT

This mama, considered advanced maternal age, is just about 8 months pregnant. 

Diastasis Recti

During pregnancy, the abdominal muscles separate to allow the uterus to grow out of the abdomen. Diastasis recti is a condition where the two bands of muscles that run on either side of the belly button don’t completely close after a pregnancy.

So when do you start showing if you’ve been diagnosed with diastasis recti before? Women with this condition will show earlier due to the lack of support in the abdominal area.

•• 10 WE E K S •• Little bumpie, I can’t believe how fast everything is happening this pregnancy. My body clearly remembers what to do. I know how early I am, I know how small the baby is trust me iv done this all before but my bump is popping already, it isn’t bloat coz this is how I look in the morning. I look at least 15-20 weeks I’m scared to imagine what I’ll look like in another 10-20 weeks. They said it’s only one baby in there. Yesterday I felt the little flutters for the first time, and nope I’m 99% sure it was not gas I remember it all too well with Leon. I was about 13 weeks when I felt them with him. I’m extremely in tune with my body. I knew the second that little seed fertilised my egg that I was pregnant, I felt it all happen. ••• The last few weeks have been a roller coaster. I under estimated the challenge of the first trimester, with a toddler. I forgot how hard it can be on the body. The nausea, the fatigue, the head spins. Well all that plus having next to no sleep and chasing a toddler… deffinatly a challenge. But it’s a challenge I accept and begged for, a challenge I am blessed to compete in. ••• This pregnancy is already so different to the first. Everything is happening super fast, I feel like I’m going crazy at how much my body remembers and how far along I actually feel VS what I actually am. ••• The morning sickness/all day sickness is finally starting to pass and I’m just like a wild animal eating everything in site at the moment. The cravings have began already, ice chocolates and broccoli like I can’t eat enough broccoli 😍🌿 I’m super tried and dizzy still, all the time.i had that with Leon and had to carry jelly beans everywhere with me for a sugar hit. And the ligament pains have been driving me insane, when I was pregnant with Leon I separated my stomach muscles and never fixed it. Oops 🤷🏼‍♀️ But don’t get me wrong in saying all of that I am loving being pregnant again. I live to be pregnant. When I was in between this pregnancy and my pregnancy with Leon I felt lost. It is my calling and I am so thankful everyday to nature for allowing me to grow and carry my children and be apart of this journey. 💞🌿

A post shared by Sharnnah • Leon (@thepeacefulhomemaker) on Jul 31, 2018 at 2:58am PDT

This mama is only 10 weeks pregnant, but was diagnosed with diastasis recti after a previous pregnancy. 

Gastrointestinal symptoms

Gastrointestinal symptoms of early pregnancy, like gas, bloating, and constipation can cause you to look pregnant, even if you aren’t far enough along to really be showing that growing baby.

Ummm this bloat is getting silly! Feel like im waddling already 😂 #8weekspregnant #pregnancybloat

A post shared by Louise (@mummygench) on Feb 20, 2018 at 1:30pm PST

This mama is just 8 weeks pregnant. 

Family history

How did your mom or sisters show during their pregnancies? Every woman is different and will carry differently. But family members are likely to carry in a similar way, thanks to shared DNA. Don’t bank on it, but if your mom and sister both showed early, you may as well.

Abdominal surgery

When do you start showing if you have a history of abdominal surgeries? Prior surgery, including c-sections, can cause the muscles to be weaker in your midsection. This may cause you to show sooner than expected.

Incorrect due date

This is less likely to be the case, since many women know their cycles well (even if the pregnancy was a surprise!) and can estimate the due date accurately from that information. But it’s possible that, if you have wonky cycles or confused implantation bleeding for a period, you could have your dates wrong.

If this is the case, the fundal height (and perhaps an ultrasound) should help determine the right due date.

Remember…

Although most women will wonder when do you start showing during pregnancy, the health of your baby, in most cases, does not have any bearing on the size of your baby bump.

Some women don’t really start showing until they are almost halfway through their pregnancies. Likewise, showing early doesn’t always mean you’re going to have a big baby!

At 12 weeks your baby is only about the size of a lime, so a bigger bump is usually just a combination of the above factors. Your healthcare provider will monitor the size of your belly and will address any concerns you have about baby’s growth.

How About You?

When do you start showing when you’re pregnant? Was it the same with all of your pregnancies?

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